Conscious Cat Sunday: Forgiveness

Allegra_tortoiseshell_cat_at_window

Guest post by Angie Bailey

The compassion of true forgiveness is the state of grace necessary to move forward with peace in our lives. Whether it’s forgiveness for others who we feel have wronged us or toward ourselves for self-directed resentments, nothing physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually positive can arise from grudge-holding.

Cats have taught me a lot about forgiveness and unconditional love. Some mornings I’ve watched myself racing around, running late for work, completely ignoring my cat’s obvious affection-sharing efforts. When I arrive home later in the day, he’s completely forgotten the previous morning as we settle in for a sweet snuggle. In these types of situations, I’m much harder on myself than he is on me. I feel badly for not giving him the attention he wants and think about it during the day, sometimes telling myself I can be a better cat-mom. Does this persistent negative thinking serve anything? No. Certainly we can learn from our actions, but we absolutely don’t need to belabor scenarios for which we cannot go back and re-live.

Some days I watch my cats swat and hiss over who wins the prized sun puddle or who gets to play with the new catnip toy, but by the end of the day, they undoubtedly wind up snoozing happily together on the end of the bed. The struggle from earlier in the day? Forgotten. I think about the time in a day I’ve wasted worrying about a disagreement with a friend or family member. This is time I can’t retrieve and absolutely nothing of value came from it. I’ve always heard we should never go to bed angry…cats have this one nailed.

How about the act of forgiving ourselves? Many times this is a more difficult task than absolving others. Whether it’s releasing ourselves from blame for something that happened many years ago or simply yesterday, our ability to live a full and joyful life depends heavily on the freedom of self-forgiveness. We cannot go back and physically change a situation; however, we can learn from it and make amends with ourselves and others.

Honestly, is there one single positive outcome that can arise from feeling harshly about a past situation? The short answer is “No.” My cats have been known to pilfer food off the counter, make off with my favorite necklaces, scratch and bite me, and steal each other’s food. Not once have I sensed any sort of self-directed pain or regret from them. Of course, I realize we can’t become blind to wrongdoing. It’s absolutely necessary to look at our choices and learn from them. Maybe we choose differently next time and maybe we won’t, but everything is a choice and no amount of grudge-holding can change the past.

Sure, cats can act a little self-absorbed from time to time (to time to time to time), but their ability to live in the moment, forgive, and live peacefully is unmatched.

Copyright © 2012 Angie Bailey. All Rights Reserved.

This article was previously published in Edge Magazine and is republished with permission. Angie Bailey is an award-winning Minnesota writer/blogger, cat fancier, word game junkie, creative-project dabbler, music lover, food enthusiast, wife, and mother to two humans and three cats. She spends most of her days enjoying her family, writing, blogging, playing Scrabble, laughing at her cats’ shenanigans, and finding the silliness in most everything. Visit Catladyland for a daily dose of Angie’s cat-centric humor.

Photo of Allegra © Ingrid King

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14 Comments on Conscious Cat Sunday: Forgiveness

  1. Tami Amburn
    July 23, 2012 at 1:31 pm (7 years ago)

    Great article….and so true. The virtues we learn from our cats!!

    Reply
  2. Caren Gittleman
    July 22, 2012 at 3:55 pm (7 years ago)

    wonderful piece Angie and something we all definitely need to read and re-read!

    Reply
  3. Layla Morgan Wilde
    July 22, 2012 at 1:01 pm (7 years ago)

    Cat know how to travel light and teach daily lessons in acceptance and letting go of what no longer serves us. They keep at it until we get it 🙂

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 22, 2012 at 2:00 pm (7 years ago)

      Lucky for us, cats are patient with the limitations of humans, Layla.

      Reply
  4. Bernadette
    July 22, 2012 at 11:24 am (7 years ago)

    I enjoyed this when Angie posted it too. Everyday life gives you baggage all the time. It’s up to you if you decide to carry it around with you or unpack it and let it go.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 22, 2012 at 2:00 pm (7 years ago)

      Sometimes, it’s good to even skip the unpacking step and just get rid of it, Bernadette!

      Reply
  5. Sammy, One Spoiled Cat
    July 22, 2012 at 10:10 am (7 years ago)

    Cats are wonderful teachers of many things…..showing love, having patience, forgiveness and tolerance are biggies. I’ve learned much from my “feline instructors” in my many years and every lesson has been a joy to learn.

    Pam

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 22, 2012 at 1:59 pm (7 years ago)

      That’s the thing about learning from cats, Pam: it’s always joyful, isn’t it?

      Reply
  6. Bobbi Hahn
    July 22, 2012 at 10:01 am (7 years ago)

    Wonderful guest post, with an important message. Ah, these cats of ours . . . Companions, entertainers, Zen masters . . .

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 22, 2012 at 1:59 pm (7 years ago)

      They are amazing, aren’t they, Bobbi?

      Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 22, 2012 at 1:59 pm (7 years ago)

      I’m glad you enjoyed Angie’s article, Debbie.

      Reply
  7. Angie Bailey
    July 22, 2012 at 8:41 am (7 years ago)

    Thank you for reposting this, Ingrid! I actually needed to re-read my own words today! xo

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 22, 2012 at 1:58 pm (7 years ago)

      That happens to me all the time, too, Angie – especially with my Conscious Cat Sunday pieces! Thanks for allowing me to republish your wonderful essay.

      Reply

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